The legendary Dudley Taft strikes back with the 6th studio album of his solo career, Simple Life. As Taft himself puts it,
Written by Blake Hall
“The more I write about basic human interactions and feelings, the more honest it is, I just want people to know they’re not alone in what they’re going through. I hope you get to know me as a real guy and connect to the songs”.
This is precisely the attitude and overall vibe enveloped in this album. One can tell that Taft is in a reflective mood, pondering love in his life as well as his musical career. As a prominent musician since the early 90’s, he seems to be reflective on his career and what he ultimately wants say as an artist. It’s an honest record, in that sense.
“Give Me A Song” has an iconic guitar riff along with a memorable groove section. I especially enjoy the back up vocals on the refrain of this song. Taft wanted something lighthearted and fun for this one. As Taft states,
“The verses are about my first terrible marriage before the joy of my new relationship. I want to be in love. I want what that first relationship should’ve been, and I got it.”
Next is the self titled “Simple Life”, which perfectly captures the soul of the album. Simple, carefree, reflective and a pure blast to dive into. Taft said about this one,
“I was down in the Bahamas reading, and I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome. We get no reception unless we climb up on a hill, so it felt nice. Managing your digital self and this accelerated news cycle gets to be too much. I’m a city dude. I love visiting and living in cities, but at some point, your mind has an allergic reaction, and you need to decompress. That’s what this album is about.”
“I Can’t Live Without You” is another groovy blues rocker with some unforgettable guitar work. The guitar solos are particularly stunning. “In Your Way” recalls a bit of a grunge vibe. A sheer blast of guitar riffage and grooves.
“Don’t Let Them Get Away” is a great rocker as well with some excellent guitar work and a great sense of power to it. I found this one to be particularly memorable. “Death By Bliss” is a beautiful acoustic song that evokes a bit of an Alice In Chains vibe, particularly in the guitar riffage. “Bombs Away” brings back more guitar work that sounds reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan. “If Heartaches Were Nickels” is a cover of a Warren Haynes song back in 1994. I personally knew this song primarily by guitarist Joe Bonamassa. This is a wonderful cover and stands out amongst the album. “Never Fade” is a touching song about staying strong and moving forward through any hardships life throws our way. “Pouring Down” is one feel good song that beautifully blends a blues and grunge sound. “Back To You” is an organic jam which, as Taft finally claims,
“It examines, “where you fuck up your relationship, and you want to get back to your happy place.”
Taft finds a blend of swagger and sensitivity on this brilliant record. It’s a man who’s found some genuine satisfaction in the simple life and is feeling reflective on all that he’s been through to get to this point in his life. Anybody who claims rock and roll to be dead owes it to their selves to dive into this album.